The Independent Media Council appealed to RAI over the incident at the Vinnytsia hospital

The Independent Media Council appealed to the Italian public broadcaster RAI to investigate the incident at the Vinnytsia hospital on July 15, when videographer Anton Kudinov, working as part of the RAI News 24 crew, recorded and published an interview with Irina Dmitrieva, a victim of a Russian missile attack. The Ukrainian expert body called on the Italian media to ensure that this situation does not happen again.

On July 14, a Russian rocket in Vinnytsia killed four-year-old Liza Dmitrieva and seriously injured her mother, Irina Dmitrieva, a designer of the Kartel publishing house. When Iryna regained consciousness, she was not told about her daughter’s death at first because the doctors said that it could kill a woman.

On July 16, a post with several videos and photos appeared on the Facebook page of Anton Kudinov, a Hostomel activist who has been working as a fixer for foreign film crews for the past few months. In the video, Iryna Dmitrieva cries in a hospital bed, watches a video of her still-living daughter, and calls on the world to help Ukraine protect itself from Russian missiles. In the frame of the video is the microphone of RAI News 24, the Italian public broadcaster.

“We consider this case extremely shameful and unacceptable. First of all, less than two days have passed since the terrorist attack. Obviously, the victim of this crime is extremely vulnerable while undergoing intensive treatment. Her ability to make informed decisions may be questioned due to the shock of the event and trauma,” the letter reads. According to experts, even the victim’s permission to film does not automatically permit journalists to distribute the recording.

Regardless of whether the recording was made and released with the knowledge and permission of RAI News 24 journalists, the publication is associated with the Italian television company.

“We call on RAI’s editorial bodies to conduct a deep analysis of this situation, develop rules and provide recommendations to journalists covering the war to protect the high rank of public broadcasting from situations that could seriously damage their reputation. We urge you to acquaint fixers and journalists, especially those working with sensitive topics in Ukraine, with journalistic standards, and publish videos about crime victims only after review and approval by the editorial team, including promos on social networks. Such a provision should be strict and unambiguous. We hope that a proper response to this unfortunate incident will prevent the repetition of such mistakes in the future,” reads the letter sent to the television and radio company.

The Independent Media Council is a permanent public monitoring and advisory body that examines controversial situations regarding non-compliance with media legislation, international standards of information coverage in the media, violations of journalistic ethics, and also provide recommendations to authorities and other interested parties to improve their regulation in the media sphere. The Independent Media Council was founded by five leading media public organizations (“Center for Democracy and Rule of Law”, “Institute of Mass Information”, “Internews-Ukraine”, “Media Detector” and “Society Foundation”) and consists of 15 members.

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